Penrith’s sister BANNED from touching NRL trophy and fifth eighth who says eels can ‘call us daddy’

There is a real sense of brotherhood in the Penrith Panthers, but the defending NRL champions are also happy that their 2022 grand final rivals Parramatta are part of the family.

“You can call us daddy,” Jarome Luai, the Panthers’ fifth-eighth player, joked before the premiership’s decider on Sunday.

His cheeky comment is about the changing of the guard in western Sydney, where the Panthers have long been regarded as Parramatta’s ‘little brother’, despite the Eels failing to win a premiership since 1986. .

Brian To'o and Jarome Luai share a joke after a Penrith Panthers NRL training session

Brian To’o and Jarome Luai share a joke after a Penrith Panthers NRL training session

While Parramatta hasn’t been able to bring home the Provan-Summons Trophy since then, the Eels have been regular contenders while the Panthers have struggled to get to eight for long periods of time.

Parramatta has also long been touted as the hotbed of rugby league talent in Western Sydney.

“Things have changed,” To’o told the SMH.

To'o poses for pictures for fans during a Penrith Panthers NRL fan day and training session

To'o poses for pictures for fans during a Penrith Panthers NRL fan day and training session

To’o poses for pictures for fans during a Penrith Panthers NRL fan day and training session

About half of the current Panthers, who are contesting their third consecutive grand final, hail from the local area. On top of that, 14 of the 17 players in the decider made their NRL debuts for Penrith.

‘There are not many children who come from the Parramatta system who are from the west. Most of the people who are on the Parramatta team come from other countries or other parts of NSW… or even Penrith,’ To’o said.

‘It’s great to see how many of us youngsters at Penrith have come from the lower grades to the big leagues.

“It’s very special to see Taylan May and Izack Tago come through this year.”

To'o and Luai celebrate after the 2021 NRL Grand Final win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs

To'o and Luai celebrate after the 2021 NRL Grand Final win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs

To’o and Luai celebrate after the 2021 NRL Grand Final win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs

Luai added that the current Penrith side represented the people and players of Western Sydney better than the current Eels.

“We are both from Western Sydney but our team has been close for a long time and played a lot of football together,” Luai said.

I think we are homegrown. We represent our people. Western Sydney is our home. Every time we wear this shirt we represent our house. We just want to compare ourselves to the best. It’s an amazing feeling when you beat the grades and make your mark on the biggest stage.

Everyone knows where you come from since you were little in the area. People always talk about the memories they have of you when you were younger and played soccer for the local youth clubs.

The Penrith Panthers are not just a family in a figurative sense, with Ivan Cleary as coach and his superstar son Nathan Cleary as running back, there is also a blood connection in the club.

However, that link likely doesn’t extend to Nathan’s sister Indi, who was reportedly “in the vicinity” of the NRL trophy last year when it was knocked off a table near a dance floor and broke. after the great final triumph of the Panthers.

He was clearly asked directly by the daily telegraph if only time had healed all wounds and if Indi would be allowed to get closer to the trophy again this year if Penrith wins.

Bec, Jett, Milaya, Nathan and Indi Cleary celebrate after winning the 2021 NRL Grand Final

Bec, Jett, Milaya, Nathan and Indi Cleary celebrate after winning the 2021 NRL Grand Final

Bec, Jett, Milaya, Nathan and Indi Cleary celebrate after winning the 2021 NRL Grand Final

“There’s no chance, she’s banned if we win,” Cleary joked.

While it is the third time Nathan has coached the Panthers and his son Nathan to an NRL decider, he said the moment was still huge for his family.

It is extremely special. There are so many great things to play in a grand final. Just getting here, everything that goes with it, and just because we’ve done it three times doesn’t make it any less special,” he said.

Nathan Cleary hugs his father and coach Ivan Cleary after winning the 2021 NRL Grand Final

Nathan Cleary hugs his father and coach Ivan Cleary after winning the 2021 NRL Grand Final

Nathan Cleary hugs his father and coach Ivan Cleary after winning the 2021 NRL Grand Final

But Ivan said family ties were locked down in the lead up to the big game to keep him focused on the task at hand.

‘It’s something you don’t really think about much anymore [being with Nathan]. I enjoy every day going to work with ‘Nat’. Sunday will be no different,’ she said.

“It’s become the norm now, and it’s not something you really notice until after the year is over when you reflect.

‘I am very grateful to be in this position… it is unique. When all is said and done and we’re both retired, we can reflect on what was, but for now it’s just a job.

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